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Gulf of Mexico Could Experience Record-Breaking “Dead Zone”

The Gulf of Mexico could experience one of its largest “dead zones” this summer. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association  forecast the dead zone ,  an area of low to zero oxygen, in the Gulf of Mexico to be the equivalent of nearly the size of Massachusetts or roughly 7,829 miles.

Dead zones can disrupt the marine ecosystem, as the low oxygen levels, otherwise known as hypoxia, harm existing marine life. The primary cause of dead zones is nutrient pollution from human activities; the nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) used in fertilizers and found in sewage are washed into the ocean by spring rains and eventually accumulate on the top of the ocean.

As these chemicals collect on the ocean’s surface, oxygen is prevented from reaching the water column and can lead to an overgrowth of algae, which consumes more oxygen as it decomposes, leading to the further depletion of the essential element. This accumulation of nutrients that leads to dangerously low oxygen is also referred to as eutrophication.

Nutrient pollution in the Gulf of Mexico

In a TED conference, ocean expert, Nancy Rabalais reported, “The nitrogen that is put in fertilizers and the phosphorous goes on the land and drains off into the Mississippi river and ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. There’s three times more nitrogen in the water in the Mississippi now than there was in the 1950s”

She emphasized resolving these agriculture issues by promoting the use of less fertilizers, precision fertilizing and trying sustainable agricultural alternatives, for example perennial wheatgrass. In contrast to corn plants, perennial wheatgrass has far longer roots and can therefore trap the nitrogen in the soil and keep the soil from running off.

Rabalais challenged her audience to make “less consumptive decisions” and highlighted the everyday, subtle choices that can be introduced to minimise our reliance on nitrogen. The changes to reduce our “nitrogen footprint” and its devastating damage on marine life can be as simple as cutting down on our consumption of corn oil, consuming less meat and using a car dependent on non-ethanol gas.

The world’s largest dead zone

The Gulf of Mexico is not the only body of water at risk. The world’s largest dead zone is in fact the Baltic Sea, which has experienced a 10-fold hypoxic increase. Climate change is a large factor in the sea’s large dead zone; however, the predominant cause for the growth is nutrient pollution.

Formed 10,000 to 15,000 years ago after the latest ice age, the Baltic Sea is the world’s youngest sea and is surrounded by nine coastal states: Finland, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. The distinguishing feature of the Baltic Sea is its brackish water, a combination of salty seawater and fresh water. The salty sea water constitutes the Baltic Sea’s deeper water layer, while the water layer on the sea’s surface is diluted by rainwater and more than 250 rivers and streams with the major rivers draining into Baltic Sea being the Neva, Vistula, Neman and Kemijoki.

In response to this environmental disaster, certain chemicals are now banned, such as DDT, a pesticide used to additionally control the spread diseases during World War Two and PCBs, man-made chemicals implemented in electrical equipment, have been replaced by accumulating nutrient pollution.

Subsequently, the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan has been established as part of an initiative to restore the Baltic Sea’s ecosystem to its previous condition by 2021. The ambitious plan aims to incorporate up to date scientific knowledge and different management approaches to create assertive environmental policies around the Baltic Sea. The main objectives of the programme are to create a Baltic Sea that is unaffected by eutrophication, undisturbed by hazardous components, encourage biodiversity and sustainable, eco-friendly maritime activities.

Ultimately, the main challenge to dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea will be eutrophication, the spread of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) from the land into sea and the cause of oxygen deprivation in the water body. Nonetheless, programme initiatives such as the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and encouraging subtle, small steps to cut down on our nitrogen footprint can help restores dead zones to their original, thriving ecosystems.

See Also:
Celebrating Arbor Day

Why Are Eco-friendly Choices for Our Environment Important?

It’s World Bee Day and We’re A-Buzz

World Bee Day came into effect through a proposal to the UN from Slovenia, that May the 20th should be observed as World Bee Day to maximize awareness about the importance of both bees and beekeeping. After three years, the proposal was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017. May 20 also coincides with the birthday of Slovenian beekeeping pioneer Anton Janša and honors his endless efforts to raise awareness about beekeeping, otherwise known as apiculture.

Why bee friendly?

Hummingbird, wasps, moths, beetles and butterflies are all vital for the process of pollination; however, bees rank as the most important pollinator of them all. The bee experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report a third of the world’s food production to be entirely reliant on bees. Bees are thus essential to ensuring our food security via pollination. Pollinations occurs as bees nestle on the flower of plant to collect pollen and nectar for their colony, and as they do this, pollen becomes attached to their hairs on their body and thereafter, fertilising the next plant they settle on.

According to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, a multitude of foods depend on bee pollination. These include fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, gooseberries, grapes, cranberries and watermelon. Vegetables that are pollinated by bees include of beans, beets, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Moreover, even the cotton you’re wearing or the morning coffee you down before class depends on bee pollination, as the plants these materials are sourced from rely on bees to pollinate them.

Correspondingly, the United Nations categorize bees as fundamental to the second of their seventeen sustainable development goals, Zero Hunger. With food inequity causing malnourishment, our increasing world population size, climate change and pollution, bees offer a sustainable means to supporting our growing population, encouraging biodiversity and fructifying our ecosystem. Concurrently, bees are paramount to securing the livelihood of agricultural workers, as they are necessary for generating a strong crop yield.

Establishing the risks to bees

There are various factors placing bees and other pollinators at risk, yet the main variables threatening the extinction of pollinators consist of pollution, increased use of pesticides in agriculture and climate change. Air pollution has a particular, adverse effect on bees by mixing with the scent molecules of plants and consequently, causing the bees to be slower at finding food for their colony and at pollinating.

UN Environment biodiversity specialist, Marieta Sakalian stated, “Governments need to take the lead…Increasing crop and regional farm diversity as well as targeted habitat conservation, management or restoration is one way of combatting climate change and promoting biodiversity.”

World Bee Day drives home an initiative to help save bees not only to government, but also to citizens across the globe. You can play an active role in preserving our bee population by planting more nectar bearing plants, eliminating the use of harmful pesticides in your garden and raising awareness at your college or community center.

See also: 12 Years To Halt Climate Change Catastrophe
What is Zero Waste and Why Does it Have a Gender Problem?

The Dos and Don’ts of College Interviews

Applying for college or university is stressful enough, without the added pressure of reviewing for exams and making sure you’re on track of coursework deadlines, which is why we have compiled a list of our dos and don’ts when it comes to preparing for your college interviews.

The Dos

  1. Tailor your interview research

While widely researching many universities and colleges during your application process is advised, when it comes to preparing for interviews, it is better to tailor your fact-finding mission. Tailoring your research will not only prepare you for the interview process, it will also give you better insight as to if a particular university is for you. Start by noting the classes you’re most interested in, and afterwards, record how specific elements of your prior experience or education tie into these subjects.

Moreover, be sure to make note of why you would like to study “X Course” at this particular university? The interview stage is about assessing your overall suitability both for the course you’re applying to and university.

  1. Practice makes perfect

Alongside measuring your compatibility with the course and college, the interview stage looks at your communication skills. Shed the waffle with a concise script of what you plan to say, either in bullet points or as a complete text.

To avoid ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ when it comes to responding to questions, go over the type of questions most commonly asked at interviews for your course. Even if these questions aren’t exactly the same ones that come up, you can still quickly modify your answer in your head to execute a well-delivered, fast response.

  1. Smile

The stress of seeing applicants come in and out, while in the waiting room might sky rocket your cortisol levels; however, it is essential you make yourself feel at ease. Just remember that the interviewer you’ll be seeing was once an applicant.

Also: try smiling while you speak. In a Ted Talk about body language, Ron Gutman highlights the benefits of smiling though citing the study by UC Berkeley and Wayne State University. Their study observed the width of smiles on yearbook photos and baseball cards featuring different MLB players. The results of the study concluded the wider the person’s smile had been, the longer and happier they had lived.

Don’t forget smiles are contagious, so shine a warm, beaming smile at your interviewer, and it’s likely that they will do the same, putting you both at ease.

Don’ts

  1. Do not be late

The difference between being late and early is the type of first impression you provide to your interviewer. If you feel travel may be an issue, pad your journey with plenty of time. Even consider booking a hotel close to the university or staying over at a nearby friend’s house if possible.

  1. Don’t sell yourself short in interviews

Smiling is a good place to start when it comes to expressing confidence and appearing more confident. Nonetheless, smiling alone won’t get you into college. Learning to ‘sell yourself’ is crucial, and don’t draw attention to your negative attributes or undermine any of your achievements. Especially when facing the frequently asked questions such as, “What is your greatest weakness?” or “What is a skill you could improve upon?”

At first glance, these types of questions imply the interviewer is asking you to address something you lack, when in fact these questions give you an opportunity to turn the question on its head. The lack can be transformed into a quality or an attribute you hold too much of. For example, you could interpret being too obsessive over detail, as the result of your need and strive for perfection.

End your interview with a strong handshake and an appreciative thank you. Good luck!

See Also:

College- Admissions Scandal Exposes Famous Parents

10 Things I wish I’d Known In College

 

Could Pete Buttigieg Become America’s First Gay President?

American Presidency candidate, Pete Buttigieg is now growing fast in popularity after wining rave reviews at CNN’s town hall on Sunday and reaching out to his city’s muslim constituents following the New Zealand attack.

His entrance on CNN, before the town hall appearance, was marked by a 1 percent rating on polls in New Hampshire and Iowa and an awkward query from the CNN’s host about the pronunciation of his last name, ‘Buttigieg’. In response to host, Jake Tapper’s question of whether his name was pronounced ‘BOOT-edge-edge’, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, simply responded, “Back home, they just call me Mayor Pete.”

For his first televised experience, Buttigieg produced well-delivered and insightful responses to Tapper’s challenging questions which included, if he believed Pence would make a better president than Trump. His laconic, honest answer, “How would he allow himself to become the cheerleader for the porn star presidency? Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing Donald Trump?” had such calm execution, rather than sounding merely accusatory that it became Buttigieg’s most talked about highlight of the show across social media.

He continued, “His interpretation of scripture is pretty different than mine to begin with. My understanding of scripture is that it’s about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea. That’s what I get in the gospel when I’m at church and his has a lot more to do with sexuality.”

Counter-Terrorism Achievements

In addition to being Mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg is a war veteran having served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was deployed in Afghanistan, for which he took seven months of unpaid leave from his Mayor position. His persistent efforts in counterterrorism have awarded him the Joint Service Commendation Medal. The medal is not the only praise Buttigieg has received; following the election of Donald Trump, President Obama featured Pete as one of the ‘gifted Democratic politicians’ he envisioned rising up through the party.

At his televised talk with CNN, Buttigieg informed the audience, “I have more years of government experience under my belt than the President. That’s a low bar. I know that. I also have had more years of executive government experience than the vice president. I get I’m the young guy in the conversation, but experience is what qualifies me to have a seat at this table.”

Too Young to Be President?

Not only would Buttigieg be the youngest president at age 39 years old, he would additionally be making history as America’s first gay president. After the land mark victory of the Obergefell Vs Hodges case authorising same-sex couples the right to marry, he informed a local newspaper in an inspiring opinion editorial, ‘I was well into adulthood before I was prepared to acknowledge the simple fact that I am gay. It took years of struggle and growth for me to recognize that it’s just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am.” His move to make the announcement was even more inspiring, as it was while he was pursuing his second term as mayor.

As promising as Pete Buttigieg sounds, there will always be some inevitable uncertainty about every candidate. A few have questioned, whether Buttigieg is too young for the post, especially having not held other senior senator or a governor posts where more political experience is required.

Regardless, perhaps Pete Buttigieg is the much needed, millennial intervention we are in need of to shape and transform our current legalizations.

Following his appearance on CNN, Pete Buttigieg’s fundraising campaign raised $600K in 24 hours.

See also:

Trump’s America: The Story So Far 

What You Need to Know from Yesterday’s State of the Union Address

Transgender Americans Will No Longer Be Allowed To Serve In The Military

Famous Words of Wisdom for International Happiness Day

Implemented in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, International Happiness Day strives towards the global happiness of men, women and children. Accordingly, in 2015, the UN launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals aiming to end poverty, protect and planet and reduce inequality—essential factors the UN believes to be responsible to determining our global happiness.

To remind our readers of the importance of being happy and support the UN’s initiative of development goals by 2030 to secure global happiness, here are our top words of wisdom to help surround yourself with positivity and never-ending enthusiasm for International Happiness Day!

Mahatama Gandhi, Indian Activist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Fridha Kahlo, Artist

Image Courtesy of Flickr

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”

Mother Teresa, Catholic Nun and Missionary

Image Courtesy of Flickr

“Its not about how much you do, but how much you put into what you do that counts.”

Angelina Jolie, Actress

Image Courtesy of Flickr

“I’ve realized that being happy is a choice. You never want to rub anybody the wrong way or not be fun to be around, but you have to be happy. When  I get logical and I don’t trust my instincts- that’s when I get into trouble.”

Mark Twain, Writer, Lecturer and Humorist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.”

Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV

Image Courtesy of Flickr

“Happiness is not something readily made. It comes from your own actions.”

Gautama Buddha

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the Path.”

John Lennon, British Musician

Image Courtesy of Flickr

“When I was 5 years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and i told them they didn’t understand life.”

Albert Einstein, Scientist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or objects.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Activist

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching, forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

See Also: Three Celebrity Skincare Routines to Inspire Your Own

Highlights From The 2019 Oscars

Words of Wisdom for International Women’s Day

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sexual Misconduct

Neil deGrasse Tyson Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson is the latest in a slew of celebrity men to be accused of sexual misconduct.

Speaking with the religious and spirituality site, patheos.com, three women—Tchiya Amet, Ashley Watson and Katelyn Allers—detailed accounts of sexual misconduct at the hands of Tyson.

Amet, who was a student at the University of Texas at the same time as Tyson, claimed that the astrophysicist drugged and raped her while the two were at college. Watson accused him of making unwanted sexual advances when she worked as his assistant, causing her to quit her job. Allers has claimed he groped her at a part in 2009.

Tyson has since refuted the very serious accusations. In a Facebook statement published on Saturday, the TV host said that he welcomes an impartial investigation into the sexual misconduct claims made against him.

Tyson wrote: “For a variety of reasons, most justified, some unjustified, men accused of sexual impropriety in today’s ‘me-too’ climate are presumed to be guilty by the court of public opinion. Emotions bypass due process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin.

“In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgement on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth—and would have my full cooperation to do so.”

He continued: “I’ve recently been publically accused of sexual misconduct. These accusations have received a fair amount of press in the past 48 hours, unaccompanied by my reactions. In many cases, it’s not the media’s fault. I declined comment on the grounds that serious accusations should not be adjudicated in the press. But clearly I cannot stay silent.”

Fox and National Geographic, the producers of Tyson’s upcoming television program Cosmos, due to premiere in 2019, have responded to the claims. In a statement, they said: “We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson. We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.”

They added: “The credo at the heart of Cosmos is to follow the evidence wherever it leads. The producers of Cosmos can do no less in this situation. We are committed to a thorough investigation of this matter and to act accordingly as soon as it is concluded.”

These allegations of sexual misconduct come as a shock to the science community, who previously held Tyson in high esteem. The author of several popular science books including Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (2017) and Welcome to the Universe (2016), Tyson is also the first black person to hold the role of director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Further reading: Join the Fight Against Sexual Assault

Five Ways to Make a Difference on World AIDS Day

Five Ways to Make a Difference on World AIDS Day

December 1 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day.

Since 1988, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) have declared this date a chance to support those currently living with HIV, and to remember those killed by AIDS-related illnesses.

Only identified in 1984, the virus has killed more than 35 million people around the world. Sufferers continue to face stigma and ignorance while battling with one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

A recent survey shared on the World AIDS Day website showed than one in five people with HIV have experienced verbal harassment or threats; a third have had their HIV status disclosed without their consent by someone close to them; one in five were treated differently by their GP; and many reported pressure at work to disclose their status. 18 percent of the respondents also reported suicidal thoughts within the last 12 months, and 17 percent “often” skimped on food due to poverty.

This Saturday, awareness events, celebrations of life and fundraising campaigns will spread information across the globe. The White House will display their annual 28-foot red ribbon to reaffirm a commitment to eradicate AIDS—a goal the UN hopes to achieve by 2030.

Here’s how you can help.

Support a charity 

Whether it’s to support your local community or distribute contraception around the world—donating to a HIV charity, the (RED) Campaign or The Global Fund is the easiest way to help sufferers and foster research. Some great charities, include:

AIDS United—supports over 300 organizations with grants and advocates on behalf of people living with HIV on a local, state, and national level

AmfAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research—one of the world’s most important and ambitious funders of HIV research

Black AIDS Institute—committed to African American communities where the risk of HIV infection and stigmatization are high

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS—raises funds for medications, healthcare, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation—the HIV charity that has made the greatest impact in prevention, treatment, and care of at-risk women and their children in the developed world

Elton John AIDS Foundation—funds programs that others don’t, such as groups fighting HIV criminal laws and activists demanding needle exchange programs in states that ban them

Rock a ribbon

In 1991, 12 artists met in New York at a time when HIV was highly stigmatized and suffering communities were largely hidden. The artists avoided traditional colours associated with the gay community to convey that HIV was relevant to everyone. They chose a red ribbon for boldness, passion, the heart and love.

Now, the red ribbon is a universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. Show that you refuse to allow stigma to distort disease by distributing or purchasing ribbons and displaying your support.

Raise awareness  

Raising awareness does not have to mean raising money—education is so important for eradicating ignorance, encouraging testing, knowing the symptoms of HIV, and supporting loved ones. Talk casually about HIV, be an active listener, download posters, repost World AIDS Day Twitter and Facebook prompts and share your story if HIV has affected you, or those close to you. The UN’s short documentary, ‘A New Picture of Health’ can also be used to spread awareness. Access it, here.

Raise funds

If you’re keen to raise funds to help sufferers and researchers—bake sales, raffles, car washes, quiz-nights and sponsored runs are all tried-and-tested, fun ways to make a difference. More specifically, organize to wear red at school or at work on World AIDS Day. You can collect donations from everyone who wears red, or get sponsored to sport an outlandish, red-themed outfit all day.

Know your status

According to the UN, 9.4 million people living with HIV don’t know their status. HIV can be transmitted at any time through blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk, so regular checks are crucial for protecting and empowering yourself, as well as other people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that anyone who has unsafe sex or shares drug needles should get tested at least once a year. What better time to begin than on World AIDS Day?

Visit AIDS Vu for geographically specific information and resources for testing.

Further reading: Eight Charities to Support on International Day of the Girl Child

Fake News

“Fake News” on Facebook is Leading to Death, Say Nigerian Police

Nigerian police say that fake news shared on Facebook is causing the deaths of many innocent people in the country.

On June 23 2018, violent, incendiary images of mutilated children, burned down homes and bloodied corpses piled in mass graves began to circulate on the popular social media site. The Facebook users who published these images reported that they were Berom Christians who were murdered by Fulani Muslims in the massacre of the Gashish district of Plateau State in Nigeria.

While a massacre did occur during this time in the Gashish district, the images and videos published were not created over the weekend of June 23, and some had, in fact, been shared months earlier. The image of a mutilated baby was shared with a call for God to “wipe out the entire generation of the killers of this innocent child”—in reference to Fulani Muslims. Elsewhere, a video in which a man’s head was cut open had not even originated from Nigeria, it was recorded in Congo-Brazzaville in 2012, six years earlier, but was used as propaganda to elicit hatred and action against the Fulani community.

Some of these circulations had accrued a violent, fatal reaction among some Berom Facebook users. Speaking with the BBC, a Berom youth leader said, “As soon as we saw those images, we wanted to just strangle any Fulani man standing next to us.”

One story that particularly stands out, is that of potato seller from Jos, Ali Alhaji Muhammed.

A mob of Berom men on the prowl for Fulani Muslims and armed with knives and machetes had blocked a road that Alhaji Muhammed was traveling back home on. They murdered Alhaji Muhammad. His body, brutally mutilated, was found three days later. The potato seller was one of 11 men pulled from cars killed on the June 24, the day following the surge of misleading information circulating Facebook about the Gashish massacre. The police and military in Plateau State believe these images fuelled the violence that occurred on June 24.

Tyopev Terna Matthias, a public relations officer for the Plateau State police said, “It was the pictures, the supposed pictures that emanated from the attack [in Gashish].

“Jos South was not under attack. But because of those images they saw, the next day, roads were blocked. People died. Vehicles were burned. So many people died.”

Matthias indicated that this content is highly misleading and dangerous, adding, “Fake news on Facebook is killing people.”

This comes amid much media scrutiny on Facebook’s policy on fake news.

For the full report, click here.

Humans-have-Caused-Wildlife-Populations-to-Decline-by-60-Percent

Humans have Caused Wildlife Populations to Decline by 60 Percent

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have declared a state of emergency for wildlife after revealing that the world’s mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have decreased by a staggering 60 percent since 1970.

By overusing natural resources, driving climate change and polluting the planet, humanity has not only prompted a cataclysmic decline in wildlife populations, but destroyed the system upon which it depends for clean air, water and every day existence.

The report warns: “Humans are living beyond the planet’s means and wiping out life on earth in the process.”

According to the Living Planet Report 2018, only a quarter of the world’s land area remains free from the impacts of human activity, a figure that is expected to fall to just a tenth by 2050. More than 4,000 species have declined between 1970 and 2014, the most recent available data.

Between 2009 and 2014, African elephant populations in Tanzania fell by 60 percent alone, largely due to poaching. WWF has warned that current protection methods are failing and more needs to be done to protect numerous species from becoming extinct in the near future.

Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF said: “We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff.

“If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.”

“We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last that can do anything about it,” added Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF. “The collapse of global wildlife populations is a warning sign that nature is dying.”

It’s not just poaching that is threatening the planet. “Exploding” levels of human consumption, over-exploitation of natural resources such as over-fishing, cutting down forests and the use of pesticides in agriculture are having dire effects on the system that humanity is dependent upon. The report highlights food, health and medicines as amenities that rely on natural resources.

“It is a classic example of where the disappearance is the result of our own consumption, because the deforestation is being driven by ever expanding agriculture producing soy, which is being exported to countries including the UK to feed pigs and chickens,” Barrett said.

Plastic pollution is also proving a significant threat. The percentage of seabirds with plastic in their stomach is estimated to have risen from five percent in 1960, to 90 percent today. Plastic can suffocate and injure marine animals and, if mistaken for food, can cause fish and turtles to suffer blockage, starvation and internal wounds.

The report added that around half of the planet’s shallow water corals have been lost in just 30 years, and that the most damaged habitats are rivers and lakes, where populations have fallen by 83 percent due to the thirst of agriculture and the large quantity of dams.

South and Central America are the worst affected regions, seeing a drop of 89 percent in vertebrate populations.

More species referenced in the report as those whose populations are in decline include black and white rhinos, polar bears, African grey parrots, hedgehogs, whale sharks, Bornean orangutans, puffins and the wandering albatross.

“If we want a world with orangutans and puffins, clean air and enough food for everyone, we need urgent action from our leaders and a new global deal for nature and people that kick starts a global programme of recovery,” said Steele.

A 2020 meeting of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to make new commitments for the protection of nature.

Barrett said: “We need a new global deal for nature and people and we have this narrow window of less than two years to get it.”

“This really is the last chance. We have to get it right this time.”

Further reading: 12 Years to Halt Climate Change Catastrophe, Warns UN

Eight Charities to Support on International Day of the Girl Child

Eight Charities to Support on International Day of the Girl Child

Since 2012, the United Nations has been declaring October 11 International Day of the Girl Child.

Today marks a day that aims to recognize and address the challenges that girls encounter around the world. The organization will work alongside girls to promote girl’s empowerment, their human rights, and declare that they have the ability to change the world.

This year, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child is ‘A Skilled Girlforce’, which starts a year-long effort of advocating for education and skill enhancement.

According to the UN, “Of the one billion young people—including 600 million adolescent girls—that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90 percent of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common.”

In the meantime, here are eight charities to support for girls and women across the globe. We don’t need a special day to honour girls and #PressforProgress.

Plan International (equality)

Plan International is active in 71 countries and strives to advance children’s rights and equality for girls. The charity puts emphasis on gender equality and empowers communities to tackle the cause of discrimination against girls.

The organisation works to overcome adversity and “support the safe and successful progression of children from birth to adulthood.’” Focus areas include: education, ending violence, youth activism, sexual health and rights, skills and work, early childhood, emergencies and providing sponsors for girls.

Camfed (education)

Camfed is an international, non-profit organisation that supports girls and women in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. With a big focus on education, the organisation tackles poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school and become leaders of change.

“Camfed’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi have directly supported more than 2.6 million students to attend primary and secondary school, and more than five million children have benefited from an improved learning environment”. From transportation and school fees to child marriage, the organisation works with community members to diminish the challenges that stand in the way of female education. 

Girls Not Brides (child marriage) 

Girls Not Brides brings together organisations from over 95 countries to end child marriage and give girls the choice and freedom that they deserve. 15 million girls across the globe become brides each year, and this organisation brings attention to these figures.

By raising awareness of health, education, death and violence, the organization aims to “build an understanding of what it will take to end child marriage and call for the laws, policies and programmes that will make a difference in the lives of millions of girls.” The charity provides facts and resources for you to share, and even gives you the option of using your own wedding to support girls across the world.

Young Women’s Trust (careers)

Young Women’s Trust supports young women aged 16-30 who are struggling with low or no pay. The organization provides free coaching and advice on CVs and job applications, and actively campaigns for “fair financial futures”.

By focusing on closing the gender pay gap, supporting young women in male-dominated sectors, and promoting apprenticeships for young women, the organization boosts women’s confidence and supports them in having a voice and becoming financially independent. 

CARE International (poverty)

CARE International puts women and girls in the centre of their mission to defeat poverty, achieve social justice and save lives. Currently working in 79 poor and developing countries, providing life-saving assistance during disaster and war, and helping people to rebuild their lives.

The organization believes that “equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to lift whole families and communities out of poverty”. It provides expertise in areas such as economic empowerment for women, inclusive governance, humanitarian response, and engaging with and influencing policy-makers and the private sector. 

Orchid Project (violence)

Orchid Project is a British charity that “envisions a world free from female genital cutting”. More than 200 million girls and women are living with the consequences of having their genitals—including part or all of the girl’s labia and part or all of her clitoris—removed. Physical consequences include, death, hemorrhage, tetanus, HIV, trouble urinating, menstruation problems, pelvic and abdominal pain, infection, sores, cysts, and infertility.

The charity raises awareness of how, why and where FGC happens and partners with organizations to prioritise an end to FCG. 

Free The Girls (sex trafficking)

Free The Girls is an international, non-profit organization; devoted to helping sex trafficking survivors achieve “economic freedom, restored health, social well-being, education, and opportunity for a different, hopeful future”. Through reintegration programs and economic opportunity, the organization joins survivors on the journey from horrific trauma to living safely with family.

Second-hand clothing is a thriving industry in many countries around the world so Free The Girls also organise bra donation. You can donate lingerie at your local drop off point and help survivors to earn a safe income and become an entrepreneur in their own communities.

Innovating Health International (healthcare)

Innovating Health International is a non-profit organization dedicated to treating chronic diseases and raising awareness for women’s health issues in developing countries. They aim to “increase access to treatment and education services for chronic diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and injuries”.

By working with local partners and building healthcare that responds to local needs, the organization supports women’s cancer care, cervical cancer prevention, chronic disease study, and the building of pathology services and national disease registries.

Further reading: Join the Fight Against Sexual Assault